1. Kyle Kuzma’s has an established role on this roster
Kyle Kuzma is probably not going to get the same number of minutes that he got for the Los Angeles Lakers last season. That might seem counter-intuitive, but the Lakers are so deep that Kuzma is naturally going to spend more time riding the pine.
However, unlike last year, it feels like Kuzma has an established role on this team and that the Los Angeles Lakers really want to see whether or not he can excel in this role. Last year, Kuzma played the role of a playmaking forward off the bench and did not really thrive in that department.
This year, I think Kuzma is going to pencil in to be more of a wing player. It is going to take better shooting and a much better defensive effort, but Kuzma is currently slotted in to be the team’s second wing off the bench and that can be a very important role.
RIght now, I envision a starting five of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Wesley Matthews, LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Marc Gasol. Off the bench, the primary second unit should be Dennis Schroder, Alex Caruso, Kyle Kuzma, Markieff Morris and Montrezl Harrell.
It does get dicey because if the Lakers bring in another center, like a DeMarcus Cousins, then Morris and Kuzma will be battling for the same role and Morris is a better fit in that role. However, right now, Kuzma seems to be the team’s bench wing option.
Giving him that established role will allow the Lakers to better evaluate if he really is a fit on this team and if he can take that step to be a better defender and shooter. If it isn’t working, then the Lakers can flip Kuzma for someone who fits better on the roster as a wing or based on whatever team need arises.
Personally, I do not think he is going to be great in this role. But with so much talent on this roster, it is not going to hurt the Lakers at all if they let Kuzma test the waters as a traditional bench wing at the beginning of the regular season.